‘Excellent’ - Pompey boss’ reveals admiration for Bristol Rovers and Joey Barton

Portsmouth boss John Mousinho was complimentary of Bristol Rovers and their manager Joey Barton.

Portsmouth manager John Mousinho has described Bristol Rovers as an 'excellent' side and has hailed the job that Joey Barton is doing.

Mousinho takes his side to the Memorial Stadium today for a League One clash, before the international break, which the Gas will have a 20-day break from after their next two matches were postponed.

Pompey are four places higher than Rovers in 10th, and are nine points ahead of the hosts today. They had been considered promotion contenders at the start of the campaign, but it will be an uphill battle for them to be involved in the mix come the end of the season.

John Marquis is set to come up against his former club after leaving them last season for Lincoln City, and then Rovers. The 30-year-old got 36 goals in 121 matches for Pompey, and he along with the rest of front line has been picked out as where they could cause problems.

‘I think Bristol Rovers are an excellent side,” Mousinho said to The News. “I think they’ve done very well since coming up last season. They’ve solidified their place in League One, which is credited to any side that’s come up from League Two.

‘They’ve got some threats, some real attacking threats in their side with the likes of Scott Sinclair, Ryan Loft, Josh Coburn, John Marquis, Aaron Collins – goals from everywhere really.

‘They are an attacking threat, they like to get the ball down. But on the other side against Wycombe the other night, they don’t mind being a bit more direct. They can cause a lot of problems doing that.

‘So, overall, it’s going to be a really tough test, especially at their home ground, where they do tend to sell out and it’s a difficult place to go and play football.’

Mousinho also showed respect for Joey Barton who will be in the home dug out this afternoon. The 40-year-old has been at the helm for more than two years, and has picked the club up from a relegation that he oversaw, to almost consolidate their place in the division after winning promotion.

The former Stevenage midfielder has picked out recent results against promotion-chasing Barnsley, as well as Oxford United, as a benchmark of their quality.

He said: ‘I think he has done an excellent job, if you look at where they were at the beginning of last season. Bristol Rovers were really struggling for form having been relegated the season before.

‘There can be a huge hangover from those relegation seasons, there’s a lack of confidence in the club and general malaise sometimes sets in. So to get them promoted straight away was a really good achievement. They’ve just rolled on since then.

“They’ve kept going and have given a couple of sides recently (tough tests). They’ve beaten Oxford, they’ve drawn with Barnsley – and we know how good Barnsley are – and I think they were unlucky the other night not to get a point against Wycombe.

‘So, yeah, we know they’re a really good side who have consolidated their position and I think he’s done an excellent job.”